Day: April 20, 2012

Hosting an exchange student can be a rewarding experience

By NORMAN BARLEY It was back in the early ‘80s that I encountered my first exchange student. He was a boy from Germany. I agreed to teach him to drive. In the course of the driving lessons, he asked me why I did not host a student. My reply went something like this, “I am a single parent. I don’t think that it would fair to the exchange student.” Over the years that followed, I was asked several times about hosting. I guess I had all kinds of excuses why I should not do it. Now I know how much I missed over those years until I finally decided the time was right. Then in 1993, I was approached to host a boy from Switzerland. I agreed to do it, but it lasted only a couple of weeks. My international Exchange Coordinator decided that I had a very good home. The following year, they found this 15 year old redheaded German boy who became my shadow. We had a wonderful year together. Things could not have gone any better. It was such a good experience that I decided to host again the next year. It was during the second year of hosting that I heard that they needed an International Exchange Coordinator (IEC) for the area where I lived. Now I am happy to say that I’ve been working...

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The role of technology in the workplace today

By ART BOBROWITZ We have created the illusion that technology is another word for communication. Technology supports communication. Again, it was never meant to replace it. I believe we are asking technology to do something we should be doing ourselves, and that is talking to each other. We think we are communicating when we trade electronic information. What appears to be communication might actually be groping our way into some realm of productivity. We have relegated communication, problem solving, and leadership to voice mail, email and hand-held texting and feel a sense of HR or personal enlightenment. While all this is going on, we confine ourselves to a job description that is defined by an operations manual that challenges competitive thinking, let alone the laws of physics. We are making decisions that impact the human spirit with the clinical efficiency of a spreadsheet. We pass off projects we don’t want to do with a simple click from our workstation so it is automatically given to someone else or sent to a committee. Now we can create the same document or bright idea and receive a phone call and browse the Net while we sit in a latte line at the drive-thru. We have change for a latte in our left hand and the control of someone else’s destiny in the right. We call it success and the will of...

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